Home » Italy » Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone


Ignazio Silone was born in Pescina in 1900 as Secondino Tranquilli. His father was a small farmer, who had immigrated to Italy from Brazil. His father died in 1911. In 1915 an earthquake hit the nearby town of Avezzano, killing thirty thousand people, including five thousand in Pescina. Many of his family members, including his mother, were among the victims. Silone and his younger brother were looked after by his maternal grandmother. While he was away at school, he did manage to return to Pescina, where he became involved in political activity and was even fined for taking part in political activity. He became very involved with the Italian Socialist Party and when a breakaway Communist Party was formed, Silone became one of the founder members. He attended the Third International in Moscow, where he met Lenin. In Italy he was active in the fight against Fascism and was arrested. After his release from prison he went to Berlin and then travelled around Europe on behalf of the Party.

In 1928 his brother, who was also a member of the Party, was arrested and was eventually beaten to death by the Fascists. When the Party moved to Switzerland Silone moved there as well but was expelled from the Party in 1930 when he took an anti-Stalin position. He became ill, both from tuberculosis and depression. After his release from hospital, he started writing Fontamara (Fontamara). He continued to write, while living in Zurich and Paris, till after the end of the war, with many of his works being published in German translation before being published in Italian and many of them only being published in Italy well after the end of the war. While writing he was also working for anti-Fascist organisations, so much so that the Italian government asked for his extradition. The Swiss at first refused and then arrested him but he was allowed to stay in Switzerland till the end of the war. He also met and later married Darina Laracy, an Irish journalist. He returned to Italy after the end of the war where he became a parliamentary deputy for the Socialist Party. He died in 1968. After his death, some researchers found some evidence that he worked as a spy for the Fascist regime, though this evidence is disputed by others.

Other links

Ignazio Silone
Ignazio Silone (in Italian)
Ignazio Silone (in Italian)
Ignazio Silone (in Italian)
Ignazio Silone Web (in Italian)


1933 Fontamara (Fontamara) (first published in German translation)
1934 Un viaggio a Parigi (Mr. Aristotle) (first published in German translation)
1934 Il Fascismo, le sue origini e il suo sviluppo (first published in German translation)
1936 Pane e vino (Bread and Wine) (first published in German translation)
1938 La scuola dei dittatori (The School for Dictators) (first published in German translation)
1939 Nuovo incontro con Giuseppe Mazzini (first published in English translation)
1941 Il seme sotto la neve (The Seed beneath the Snow) (first published in German translation)
1944 Ed egli si nascose (And He Hid Himself) (first published in German translation)
1952 Una manciata di more (A Handful of Blackberries)
1954 La scelta dei compagni
1956 Il segreto di Luca (The Secret of Luca)
1960 La volpe e le camelie (The Fox and the Camellias)
1965 Uscita di sicurezza (Emergency Exit)
1968 L’avventura di un povero cristiano (The Story of a Humble Christian)
1968 Paese dell’anima
1971 Il pane di casa
1979 Memoriale dal carcere svizzero (Memoir from a Swiss Prison)
1980 La Scuola della libertà
1981 Severina
1992 L’avvenire dei lavoratori (1944-1945)
2000 Esami di coscienza
2002 Il Fascismo: origini e sviluppo
2004 Le cose per cui mi batto: scritti su cultura e politica
2009 Ai piedi di un mandorlo